How to Overcome Barriers to Physical Activity

Starting a regular exercise routine isn’t easy. Here are the most common obstacles many beginners face and how to overcome them.

1 Not Enough Time

  • Monitor daily activities for a week. Identify three 30-minute time slots when you are most active and designate those as your workout time.
  • Incorporate exercise into your normal daily activities. Take a walk after dinner, do crunches during TV commercial breaks, or pace back and forth while on the phone.
  • Break up physical activity into 10-15 minute increments and spread them throughout the day or week.

2 Lack of Energy

  • Schedule physical activity for a time of day when you feel most energetic. For some, it’s first thing in the morning. For others, evening is best.
  • Aim to get more sleep so you feel rested, refreshed and ready to exercise. Added bonus – physical activity helps you sleep better, too.

3 Lack of Motivation

  • Plan ahead and write it on your calendar to hold yourself accountable.
  • Try group classes or a personal trainer who can encourage and motivate you.
  • Set a goal for yourself and reward yourself when you reach it.
  • Set workout clothes out where you will see them when you wake up or come home from work.

4 Weather

  • Try indoor activities like cycling, swimming, mall-walking, or dancing.
  • In summer months, exercise early in the morning or late in the evening to beat the heat.
  • Join a gym. Always air-conditioned. Always available.

5 Traveling

  • Choose a hotel with a swimming pool or exercise facility.
  • Take the stairs, walk the halls, or go for a run around the hotel.
  • Use your legs as transportation instead of renting a car.

6 Lack of Support

  • Ask friends and family to encourage your efforts and update them about your progress.
  • Invite friends and family to exercise with you. You’ll motivate each other and be less likely to cancel your workout.
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